Gideon Green’s career milestones approach area’s best this century
Gideon Green first made headlines as a freshman linebacker who helped South Williamsport reach the Class A state semifinals. Over the last three years, he repeatedly made bigger headlines as a bull-dozing running back.
It was during that freshman year when those watching South could envision Green becoming the heir apparent at running back. That was the year Dominick Bragalone put together one of the best seasons in U.S. history, but Green showed late in games that he could inflict damage as well. And when the task came of replacing Bragalone came along, Green approached the Herculean task the way he did everything else throughout his scholastic career. He went after it head-on and all-out.
Green became his own man and left his own legacy. He trampled defenders, continued wrecking ball-carriers and ensured that South kept winning championships. Green put together his best season yet last fall, topping 2,000 yards, becoming South’s all-time leading tackler and helping the Mounties go 9-2 while winning a HAC-III championship. Green’s all-around sensational performance helped him best a stellar and deep field and become the 2017 Sun-Gazette Player of the Year.
“We’ve been blessed. They talk about Linebacker U and Running Back U is alive and well here,” South coach Chris Eiswerth said. “(Brandon) Stonge was the record holder, then Brags blew those numbers up. To follow that up with a guy like Greeny at a little school like South is remarkable. Gideon relished that challenge of becoming the next guy. He respected those guys and used that to catapult him into what he became, an all-state player and one of the best.”
“As a freshman coming in to a team with players like Dom, I took everything away from it that I could,” Green said. “I learned how much you have to sacrifice to win football games; all the early morning workouts, extra coach meetings, two-a-days, speed trainings, lifting, leading a team, having my teammates and a community counting on me. Dom showed me what it was like to be an elite running back. I tried my whole career to fill in his shoes.”
Consider that, mission accomplished. If one was starting a Mount Rushmore of area running backs in the 2000s Bragalone and Darrell Blackman would be the first two chosen. That those are the only two players who ever ran for more career yards than Green says everything. Green will graduate, having run for 5,304 yards and 63 touchdowns. He also will leave South as its all-time leading tackler with 291. Oh yeah, South went 40-10 those last four years, winning a district title, four straight league championships and consecutive HAC-III crowns.
A group that Green started playing with as soon as he first put on shoulder pads brought the South program roaring back. Southern Columbia is the only District 4 that won more games during that span. Green and South shined again this past fall, going 9-2, winning the HAC-III title and beating a series of strong opponents, including District 4 Class AAA champion Loyalsock.
“I have been playing with my teammates since I was 5-years-old in flag football. We are brothers on and off the field,” Green said. “My teammates would have done anything for me and are so selfless. The chemistry we have is unreal. I would know what blocking moves Ashton (Martin) was making before he made them. I could count on Ben (Johnson), Reilly (Barnes) and the lineman to make those holes and getting the push up front that we needed every time.”
That combination of Green and his bull-dozing offensive line was straight out of central casting. This was a line and a player built in the same image. The line paved the way and Green plowed for the extra yards. The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder could simply run over defenders or he could shake them off like a dog flapping away fleas. He had power, but Green also had moves and deceptive speed, breaking away for long touchdown runs throughout the season, including the game-clincher in a HAC-III championship win at previously undefeated Central Columbia.
Green finished his season with a district-best 2,245 yards and 26 touchdowns. He topped 150 yards in 10 of his 11 games, went over 300 yards twice and 200 yards five times. Green did his best work against South’s toughest opponents and gained 4,000 yards over the last two seasons when South won 20 games.
What made Green really great, though, could not be measured by his statistics or by adding up all the would-be tacklers he left lying on the field looking into the night sky and wondering where the truck that just hit them came from. This was a player whose heart was bigger than his talent. Green never wore down no matter how often he carried the ball, no matter how many tackles he made.
Green rarely left the field. He carried the ball 50 times in a game in each of the last two seasons against North Penn-Mansfield and Loyalsock. He kept growing stronger throughout the games despite only seeing the sideline on special teams plays. He ran for more yards in games, but his 239-yard, 4-touchdown performance in the 56-28 victory against Loyalsock might have been his masterpiece.
Loyalsock featured one of the area’s top defensive lines and romped through the Class AAA field toward the district championship. But Green kept running downhill and punishing defenders. He put the offense on his back and overwhelmed Loyalsock as South recorded a win its players always will remember. It was a game that perfectly encapsulated Green’s scholastic career.
“The highlight of this past season was beating Loyalsock. That game had a different atmosphere than any others we played. Two great teams playing some great football. It’s always a big game for us, a big win and good for local bragging rights,” Green said. “I loved every minute of running the ball and every tackle I got to make. I know sometimes our game wasn’t pretty. Sometimes we got four yards a carry and we did the same play over and over and over, but there is something about the saying, ‘just try and stop us.’ The pressure didn’t bother me. Coach Eiswerth would remind me from time to time that losing hurts a lot more than injury or being tired and I’d go out and give it all that I had.”
Green has the physical gifts but his drive and work ethic helped push him toward becoming one of the best area players to suit up this decade. The four-year starter grew, faster and stronger each season. He led not through just words, but through action. Others might share similar work ethics, but Green made sure nobody would ever outwork him.
“He was the first guy at the weight room and the last guy with me as we were shutting the door. He loved it. If there was something he could work on he would do it,” Eiswerth said. “Gideon is a guy that we love. We love each other. It’s a strong feeling. He really wanted to please me and do the best for his town and school. It oozes out of him. He’s a special young man and I was very blessed and proud to have worked with a kid that not only has his ability, but has his class.”
Green said he is leaning toward taking classes and playing at Shippensburg next fall. With his size and strength, Green can be plugged in all over the field, whether at linebacker, defensive end, fullback or tailback. Wherever he goes, whatever he plays, Green will work.
This is a player who brings his lunch pail to work and fights through every obstacle thrown his way. Green took a pounding the last three years and this past season played through a painful sprained neck. He missed exactly one half. Anyone who has ever suffered a stinger and/or a pinched nerve in the neck or neck sprain knows how painful the experience is. Add in an assortment of other injuries and Green easily could have tapped out and given in.
He never did. If Shippensburg is the destination than it is receiving a true warrior.
“He’s just an impressive guy. I would see him at the next level continuing to flourish,” Eiswerth said. “He will get bigger, stronger and faster. He is after that relentless pursuit of perfection.”
This is a player who never will have to look back and wonder if he could have done more while playing high school football. Green put everything he could into making himself a great player and, in doing so, ensured that South continued being a great team. His memories are the community’s as well. He gave South plenty to cheer and he will not soon be forgotten.”
“I hope opponents remember what it felt like for me to run over them. I hope fans remember my team for the last four years and what we’ve brought to the South program,” Green said. “I want the young kids who look up to me to remember that hard work pays off and stay the course. I want my teammates and coaches to remember all the fun times, locker room after wins, wing nights, spaghetti dinners, lifting, chocolate milk and that I would do anything for them.”
Green proved that every time he played.
Past Sun-Gazette top players
2001–Darrell Blackman, Williamsport
2002–Darrell Blackman, Williamsport
2003–Kyle Van Fleet, Loyalsock
2004–Luke Ellison, Montoursville
2005–Dan Egly, Hughesville
2006–Jake Kreamer, Montoursville
2007–Austin Knighton, Loyalsock
2008–Cody Haupt, Montoursville
2009–Mike Kinney, Loyalsock
2010–Nate Brown, Lewisburg
2011–Brandon Smith, Lewisburg
and Skye Stiner, North Penn
2012–Brandon Smith, Lewisburg
2013–Dominick Bragalone, South Williamsport
2014–Dominick Bragalone, South Williamsport
2015–Levi Lorson, Jersey Shore
2016–Isaiah Hankins, Williamsport